Is Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial S.A. (ATH:PLAT) A Smart Choice For Dividend Investors?

Dividend paying stocks like Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial S.A. (ATH:PLAT) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason – some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it’s important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.

A 2.2% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial has some staying power. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial for its dividend, and we’ll focus on the most important aspects below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial!

ATSE:PLAT Historical Dividend Yield, October 17th 2019
ATSE:PLAT Historical Dividend Yield, October 17th 2019

Payout ratios

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. So we need to form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Looking at the data, we can see that 30% of Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial’s profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. This is a middling range that strikes a nice balance between paying dividends to shareholders, and retaining enough earnings to invest in future growth. One of the risks is that management reinvests the retained capital poorly instead of paying a higher dividend.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Unfortunately, while Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial pays a dividend, it also reported negative free cash flow last year. While there may be a good reason for this, it’s not ideal from a dividend perspective.

Is Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial’s Balance Sheet Risky?

As Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A rough way to check this is with these two simple ratios: a) net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and b) net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA is a measure of a company’s total debt. Net interest cover measures the ability to meet interest payments. Essentially we check that a) the company does not have too much debt, and b) that it can afford to pay the interest. Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial has net debt of 2.96 times its EBITDA. Using debt can accelerate business growth, but also increases the risks.

We calculated its interest cover by measuring its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), and dividing this by the company’s net interest expense. With EBIT of 2.95 times its interest expense, Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial’s interest cover is starting to look a bit thin.

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. Its dividend payments have fallen by 20% or more on at least one occasion over the past ten years. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was €0.03 in 2009, compared to €0.044 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 4.0% a year over that time. Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial’s dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn’t grown 4.0% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical growth.

We’re glad to see the dividend has risen, but with a limited rate of growth and fluctuations in the payments, we don’t think this is an attractive combination.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it’s even more important to see if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Why take the risk of a dividend getting cut, unless there’s a good chance of bigger dividends in future? Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it’s great to see Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial has grown its earnings per share at 22% per annum over the past five years. With high earnings per share growth in recent times and a modest payout ratio, we think this is an attractive combination if earnings can be reinvested to generate further growth.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial’s dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial has a low payout ratio, which we like, although it paid out virtually all of its generated cash. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, but it was concerning to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. Ultimately, Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial comes up short on our dividend analysis. It’s not that we think it is a bad company – just that there are likely more appealing dividend prospects out there on this analysis.

Are management backing themselves to deliver performance? Check their shareholdings in Thrace Plastics Holding and Commercial in our latest insider ownership analysis.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.